Social networks are one more tool that we have at our fingertips to relate to others. It depends on their use that these applications bring us more benefits than drawbacks. But not everything depends on how we use them; they also have quite dangerous characteristics that can influence people, distorting the view they have of themselves. We are referring, of course, to ‘likes’, those little fingers upwards, on Facebook, or hearts on Instagram, which stimulate our ego so much that we depend on them for our posts to have visibility because the website’s algorithm was designed to decide so.
Goodbye to Likes: Hello, Healthier Relationships?
Moreover, since social networks also play a role in the emotional stability of users (after all, they feed on our tastes, our hatreds, philosophies, and phobias, to compile a robot portrait of our personality and sell it to the highest bidder and then offer us personalized advertising). This is why they have decided to ‘hide’ the ‘like’. At least some of them, such as Facebook and Instagram, unquestionably the two most powerful on the Internet. Instead of showing the precise number of ‘likes’ to get a post, we would see something like ‘Sean Lin and others like this post’ as we see in the following screenshot.
Facebook explains the reason for hiding likes
For now, a Facebook spokesperson has assured that they will begin to hide the exact number of ‘likes’ basically ‘see what happens’ and how this decision influences the daily use of the social network. According to The Next Web, Zuckerberg’s would be carrying out a limited test in which reaction counts and videos are done privately through Facebook. In addition, they will take feedback into account to understand whether this change improves users’ experiences.
Much of what motivates Facebook and Instagram to hide ‘like’ counts are based on feedback from researchers dealing with mental well-being. These social networks have received positive feedback from mental health experts over the years and have clear evidence that, if you can see other people’s like counts, it can positively impact the way users interact within the platform.
In this way, we can conclude that one of the main reasons why Facebook and Instagram want to hide the like counts is to build a more constructive network of social relations than there is today, which seems more like a struggle of egos and a competition to see who has more ‘likes’. At the end of the day, obsessing over likes leaves no other way out than mental instability, and we associate a tangible number with a feeling as fickle, permeable and non-transferable as ‘happiness’ is. Social networks do not stop releasing perfect images emitted by people who give the best of themselves. People who also suffer and have bad days like all of us. That social networks can change the current paradigm remains to be seen.